Caveats about “Personality Type” and Myers-Briggs

Extending my earlier post about personality and leadership….  While I see value in Myers-Briggs, there are a lot of caveats about the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI) and personality testing in general:

  • MBTI measures aspirations as much as reality.  One has to be very careful about whether you’re seeing what you are or what you wish to be.  Both are OK results, just know the difference.
  • The test and rating scheme were heavily influenced by the types and theories of the creators themselves (and ultimately Carl Jung‘s concept of Psychological Type). 
  • The logocentric nature really turns some folks off (though I see the four characters like they’re on slot machine “wheels”). 
  • The simplistic visualizations in MBTI mask the malleability and fuzzy nature of “type.”  As noted above, one’s mental or emotional statecan skew the results.  Also, other tests/approaches have more straightforward insights into the differences between how one reacts when stressed vs. relaxed.
  • Type can become stereotype — which is one of the best insights from Stephen Covey’sSeven Habits….”  It is useful as a screening and development tool, but MBTI is much more useful to each individual to know him/herself.  To reinforce this, one approach is to have everyone destroy their “type IDs” at the end of MBTI-based training.
  • Type doesn’t mean destiny.  Everyone thinks sales people have to be “E,” buy many only appear to be extroverts.  Much of their apparent spontaneity is an effect achieved through meticulous preparation.  Many actors are “I” as well — one of the reasons The Method is so effective. 
Advertisements

One Response

  1. […] any case, despite all the caveats you can note about mbti, it struck me that these different approaches easily mapped onto one of the basic differences that […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: